Sunday, September 9, 2018

End of the Year Highlights Part 2

It's going to have to be 3 highlights! Here's part 2....

CC and Ben took a short camping trip together. I absolutely love being a mother to a son. He got hold of his dad's phone and sent me this text. Be still my heart!

And then I got these texted pictures from his dad....

It wouldn't be a Campbell Camping Trip without some off roading and a flat tire!

All went well. The tire was changed, which made for a good manly tire changing lesson. The next day I got this beautiful picture! He lives in that Scotland sweatshirt, but he's in Turkey!

We had our annual Extra Curricular Activities reception. The girls were awarded a certificate for involvement in soccer, basketball, volleyball, and drama.

And this cute bug alone represented all of 7th and 8th grade on the Student Council.

I took this picture because it made my heart so happy to see all my girls, crammed together into a tiny bedroom, but happy to be painting and creating art all in the same room. No beds made. All in pjs. Just perfect.

Big Ben managed to sleep alone all this year because no other sister would let him begin his terrible habit. But as soon as Firstborn came home, he was right back to his old habit.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

End of the Year Highlights Part 1

Attempting to finish the 2017-18 school year, I am creating two blog posts of the highlights!

I received this adorable picture while I was in Singapore. We had International Day, so my three amazing girls put together Native American costumes to represent their heritage (on both sides!).

And speaking of costumes, sometimes while we are all spinning in circles coming up with great costumes for spirit days such as this (Crazy Hair Day), CC will just casually walk out the door in the morning with a costume piece to add and then end up being the most-talked-about person on campus. This was surely a day like that! He added an 80's teen punk flip of the head to his costume, too.

Big Ben is our only piano student in the family now, though we still hear beautiful music by a couple of our girls who have continued to play beyond their lessons.

We were so proud of his recital this year. And I'm loving him in a tie!!!

Finally after an entire year of not being in her "home" Firstborn had her visa in hand and arrived after her last day of classes. It was just so good to have her home and for us to be a complete unit. I know they are all going to fly away soon, so I'm enjoying my children coming home for now. I'm glad they want to come home! This is the couch where I sat each morning this past year, coffee and Bible in hand, and said goodnight to her on text as my day was just starting. Now she sat by me....

And she quickly began working her way through all the foods she had missed...both home cooked and Turkish!

She was a tremendous help to us at the school. Here she is pictured leading a team of students on our end-of-the-year field day. We had her subbing in the elementary grades the Monday after she arrived on the weekend! She graded and ran errands and set up the art show and did all kinds of things to help teachers. CC commented he is not sure we could have managed without those extra hands as our school has just grown to that size and the final days of school dictate more activity.

Finally, our family picture was complete!

Big Ben's team won first place (for his grade) in the school science fair. We discovered this during our home volleyball tournament. He was out playing soccer on the outdoor field, so we chased him down to tell him he won! His partner and he attempted to demonstrate the differences in magnetism at various temperatures. (He happens to have an elementary school principal who is cool enough, that when a kid says, "I want to do something that involves breaking something in my project...." she takes the ball and helps them run with it! She "GETS" kids!)

We also had the privilege of hosting Coach A, who is a believer who plays basketball in Germany on a ministry team. He has come two years now to run a week long basketball camp for us. He has a special connection with Big Ben, and it was great to have him back with us.

When you are 8 time zones away and your beautiful niece is graduating, you might just have to watch it at a food court while eating dinner! We tuned in just in time to see her walk across the stage. We also had a nephew on my side graduate this year. I remember when all these babies were born, thinking....and one day they will be graduating year after year, for many years! It's here!

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Time To Go Home

We enjoyed one last delicious breakfast at our hotel. I wanted eggs and bacon and coffee. But I also had to have shrimp dumplings and some curry too!

It was a Sunday, and we were happy to have enough time to join our Singaporean friends once again. We attended church with them in the afternoon, then grabbed a quick bite to eat before going to the airport. Of course, the food would be local!

I had fish ball noodle soup, something I was a little afraid to try when I moved there at 25 years old.

We also had a plate of satay, which was most certainly my first local meal I ever had. 

I left Singapore once again with a heart full of memories. The savories, the sights, the sounds, the smells, the streets were all amazing. But it was the people who made this visit, and this place to live, the most wonderful. I hope to go again one day. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Happy 25th Anniversary to ICS Singapore

And then the end of our week in Singapore arrived. The real reason we were flown in is to help celebrate ICS Singapore on its 25th birthday. CC was asked to share at the big fundraising event about the early years of the school. We were so honored to be asked and looked forward to the big night. The school rented out Universal Studios Singapore on Sentosa Island (Wow, that island has changed in 14 years! I used to push my babies in a stroller over there to see the monkeys!)

It was a fun and electric environment, and we were so happy to be a part of it!

We found one of our former students, now a mom herself.

And some of our old teachers/friends were in town for the event, as well.

CC did a great job, as always, and we were happy to represent a tiny bit of the history of this wonderful and successful school. It really did become a small stone of remembrance for me to think about those hard early years and to realize that we are all part of something bigger that God is doing. We could never have known that the light of this school would be shining so brightly so many years later. But it made those early sacrifices when the school nearly didn't make it, worth it all!

Happy birthday, ICS Singapore!

Monday, September 3, 2018

Singapore in Seven: Hitting All the Memories

We really had so little time in Singapore, but with our time, we decided rather than seeing the typical sight seeing spots, we would like to see the places that we still held in our hearts.

At that first apartment that I showed you yesterday, this was my very first memory the morning after we slept there the first time. We got up to go find some food for breakfast. We quickly discovered that our neighbourhood was full of diversity, as evidenced by this Hindu temple just down the street. Most days it had piles of shoes outside from those who had gathered to go inside.

We also had a hawker center, which we began frequenting. We were so new and had absolutely no idea what to order!

We walked back through our walking route to catch Bus 65 which would take us toward town (and the school where we worked). We hopped off at the street at our second apartment. We already knew it had been torn down and replaced with a condominium. The Jewish Nursing Home next door remained. I remember taking my babies there to greet the residents.

We found the spot where CC sat and asked God for guidance on the day he was asked to become the interim director when our director skipped town!

We got back on our route and as nightfall approached, we saw the place where we went to a Chinese Opera on our first anniversary!

The next day, we went down to the southern point of the city to see the places we lived when our two little girls were born.

We walked the back jungle path.... the spot of our very first school when we arrived. It was a very old school building that once housed prisoners during WWII. It has since been torn down and a new condominium has replaced it.

But our hawker center across the street remained. This is where I first ate the local food.

And our final stop on this fun day was to see the campus that God provided at the very last minute. So much searching, so many prayers, and just in time, God provided it.

I got the chance to meet up for coffee and kaya toast with my two Singaporean friends from so long ago. Back then, our toddlers played on playgrounds. Now, they are in University and military service. These gals are so dear, and it meant so much to me to be able to see them!

These dear old friends came from the other side of the island to meet up with us. J will forever be special to me. She was first one of our school moms who had this amazing ability to turn nothing into something! She would help me organize the school Christmas craft fair. Because of her heart for people and her willingness to travel to a surrounding country, she contracted malaria. One Christmas Eve I spent by her hospital bed, rubbing lotion on her hands and praying for her, watching her unresponsive and hooked up to every hospital monitor possible. It did not look hopeful, but God did heal her. She continues to pour her life out for others to see them find the hope she has found. In true fashion, she handed me a bag of goodies made out of discarded sample fabrics. She had trained needy women to create something out of nothing.

And though it might sound silly to travel all the way to a tropical exotic country and miss the biggest sightseeing in the land, I wanted to see the clinic where I spent about 4 years of my life! After having 3 babies in 4 years, I became good friends with the nurses and doctor in my maternity clinic. I just popped in. The minute I walked in, the nurse yelled, "Sara are back!" I'd been gone 14 years, but they still had our family picture with my three Singapore babies in it.

And this is the man who held my three babies before anyone on Earth and exclaimed, "Praise the Lord!" each time. He is still delivering beautiful babies and was so happy to hear that I went on to deliver 2 more in Turkey.

One of our biggest joys was to get to meet with our friend LC and KH's community group. We shared some food and fellowship and talked about our lives in Turkey, as they pray for us faithfully. What a beautiful group and what a beautiful encouragement!

These are just random photographs and random notations for my readers, I am sure. But for me, they represent a six year period in my life in which I grew in the Lord, learned to be an overseas wife, made lifelong friendships, and became a mother. Each little spot I went held smells, sounds, and memories that are forever in my heart. I was so young then, but God held my hand in those years.

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